Lot 32: Bentley Azure
The first generation Bentley Azure Convertible was conceived while the company was still under Vickers management and produced from 1995 to 2003. Debuted at the 1995 Geneva Salon, it was based on the platform of the highly successful Continental R, and combined the glamour of the company's early coachbuilt Drophead Coupes with modern-day technology and performance - a heady cocktail for those lucky enough to afford it. The car's presence was immense, born of the combination of automotive elegance and sheer size - the Azure was 210 inches long. Sculptured seats ensured the optimum cosseting for up to four adults. This was the height of luxury.
The heart of the Azure, as of so many post-war Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, was the Group's mighty 6.75-litre OHV V-8 engine complete with Garrett AirResearch turbocharger and Zytek EMS3 digital engine management. The unit drove through a General Motors-sourced four-speed automatic transmission. With some 400bhp on tap and in excess of 600lbft of torque, the 0-60mph dash could be dispensed with in around six seconds, despite the car's generous all-up weight of 5,750 pounds. Speeds of up to 150mph were possible when allowed, doubtless without a ripple on a glass of champagne. Suspension was independent front and rear with adaptive ride control. Braking was by discs all round, ventilated at the front and included anti-lock technology. Styling house Pininfarina was heavily involved in the development and production of the Azure. Not only did the Italian company construct the bodyshells, but designed and manufactured the car's powered Convertible roof - an item of true artistry. Final assembly of the model took place at the Rolls-Royce factory in Crewe. A total of 1,098 standard specification Azures were produced all told, plus a further 223 Mulliner, Le Mans etc variants on the theme.
This right-hand drive Azure - chassis number SCBZK15C1TCH53667 - was built in 1995 and first registered in Singapore during January 1996 as 'SCA 11C' by Malayan Motors, Bentley's distributor. Re-registered as 'SCK 9297H' for owner Mostan Das Gangaran Darvani on February 6th 1996, the Azure sported Dark Blue bodywork, a Black hood, Black leather upholstery and Black mohair overmats. Acquiring the UK registration number 'M388 TNP' upon its repatriation in 2005, the luxurious convertible entered the current ownership four years later. Though, reportedly little used since then the Bentley is understood to have had some �10,000 spent on its mechanical upkeep, body, hood, tyres etc. The vendor now describes the bodywork as "very good - no rust", the paintwork and automatic transmission as "good", and the V8 engine as "good - runs well". The speedometer was apparently changed in 2005 from kmh to mph, since when its odometer has logged 7,000 miles. These extraordinarily luxurious Convertibles are incredible value in today's market when one considers the cost new would have been circa $350,000. Few other open motorcars have ever been able to transport four people so fast and so sumptuously, and then secure them so effectively when the weather turns inclement.
H&H Sales Limited, Rockingham Castle
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||-|
|Engine capacity (cc)||6750|
|Engine - cylinders|
|Number of doors||2|